The descriptor "cultish" tends to attach itself to myriad second and third wave psychedelic artists, from the NPR-safe Edward Sharpe to perennial blog favorite Prince Rama to the aptly-titled Brian Jonestown Massacre (Miranda Lee Richards even said as much about the latter). But no artist feels more like a cult, one that possesses the power to bend young minds no less, than Acid Mothers Temple. Many of founding guitarist Kawabata Makoto's followers resemble some sort of Far East version of wizards and sorcerers-- to the point where it's rather unforgivable Acid Mothers Temple has not become a feverish role playing card game yet. Even the band's website closely resembles that of Heaven's Gate.
The shapeshifting Japanese collective has adopted varying monikers across their releases, some of them tongue-in-cheek, and others so bodacious they could only be conceived with the assistance of the world's finest getty green. For their latest, Son of a Bitches Brew, Acid Mothers Temple open another chapter in the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. catalogue. While most of the Paraiso repertoire hones in on drone and freak-out standards, Son of a Bitches Brew delivers an umbrella synopsis of Acid Mothers Temple's newfound infatuation with the album's primary inspiration and source material: American jazz, warped for their own otherworldly plans. No, this isn't tote bag-wielding dinner party music; it's far too terrifying. Rather, the sprawling double LP is informed by sharp Mingusean free jazz standards, amalgamating intergalactic funk, dissonant horn arrangements, broken melodic structures, and spot-on syncopation to probe the gnarliest crevasses of the known universe.
The title track sets an uncharacteristically bouncy Rhodes organ anchor against the formidable vocal chants and space pings that have become an Acid Mothers Temple signature. It grooves along a bed of surprisingly standard jazz tropes before setting the controls for dissonant fuzz baths and disorienting tempo shifts. "Fellatioh's Dance Also Bitch's Blow" follows a similar pattern, drawing from the fruitful well of late '60s experimental jazz while infusing it with the spooky serum of cosmic dread that defines Acid Mothers. Worry not, there's plenty of avant deconstructionism to be found in "Tabata Mitsuru" and "Theme From Violence Jack Johnson," but AMT elected for more deep grooves and less cosmic nihilism. Their lasting affinitity for the primordial jam is perhaps best demonstrated on the colossal, 20-minute album centerpiece "Water Babies Kill Kill Kill." Leaning toward the prog side of the spectrum, it weaves through piercing breakdowns, industrial motifs, and their heretofore established smoky and wholly shattered space jazz. It's no surprise that this epic incorporates the sounds of crowd ambience and sirens: together, they form the kind urban fabric that will be both familiar and foreign to the garden variety city dweller. But as with all ATM releases, you can envision it as a soundtrack to your current surroundings and feel as if these subterranean wizards are noodling just for you.